Update: Well, I ended up getting in touch with this show to tell them about Scottish wool and yarn and they asked me to come on the Scotland Outdoors podcast. ( I need to stop saying “incredible”)
I was listening to Out of Doors, on Radio Scotland, the other day and I heard a claim that drew the breath from me.
Someone wrote in to say that it was important to wear wool in winter (Correct! This was not the alarming point) and they followed it up by saying they had recently brought back a suitcase of wool from a trip to Norway for…
“You can’t buy 100% wool in Scotland”
(I’ll wait whilst you pick yourself up off the floor.)
…Now, I know most of us herein know fine well of the purveyors of fine wool yarns in my native Scotland. But if you think I can leave this post there, safe and warm in that knowledge, then I am afraid you will have to go and make a cup of tea, and come on a woolly trip around Scotland with me right now.
This is not a precise rundown of every yarn seller in Scotland. This is an opportunity for me to give a link to the Scottish yarns and Scottish-based wool businesses that I have personally used. Think of this as a good jumping of point in your own research!
If you want to add a link to anyone in Scotland creating yarn that I have missed, please leave a comment to this post. (I won’t add suggestions into the post itself.)
As long term readers and listeners of WoolWork will know, I truly believe that, we are the change we need to see for local wool.
If you can’t find wool local to you available in your wool shop, ask your LYS owner why that is. Have a conversation about local wool and see if they can stock some, or point you in the right direction.
This year has been particularly tough on wool growers – the clip prices have been marked so low. We need to advocate more for our small wool businesses.
If you want to craft local and you can’t find material local to you in your LYS or in big online retailers, dig deeper, look harder.
Remember that not all wool sellers have big flashy websites, or the same access to marketing that larger companies do. But if you look more mindfully I guarantee there are sellers out there and I also know they all have an important story to tell you about their yarn.
Don’t forget that one of your best resources for finding British wool is by checking out the directories at WoolSack.org – that resource is a valuable one and a real labour of love by Jane Cooper – Thanks for this incredible resource, Jane.
I’ve included some Scottish-based hand-dyers that I know have some British wool bases from time to time and who are definitely worth knowing about!
In no particular order then,
(all selling Shetland breed yarn and/or fibre)
Woolen mill – Jamieson’s of Shetland
Jamieson and Smith – The Shetland Wool Brokers
From Organic flocks, Uradale Yarn
From their own flocks, Aister Oo
From their own flocks, Foula Wool
From her own flock, Langsoond
(Selling North Ronaldsay breed yarns and/or fibre)
woollen mill- A Yarn North Ronaldsay
Custom blends, botanically dyed – Shilasdair yarn, Skye
Hebridean yarn from their own flock- Croft 29, Skye
Dorset breeds, Hebridean blend – TJ Frog, Skye
Native Breeds and blends – Ardalanish Mill, Mull
Single origin local breeds – Iona Wool
Breed wool local to Isles and woollen spinning mill – Uist Wool
Hebridean & Cheviot blends from their own flock- Birlinn Yarn Company, Berneray
Cheviot yarn – Caithness Yarns
Mixed breeds local to Caithness – Caithness Croft Yarns
Blends of breeds local to Black Isle and natural dyer – Black Isle Yarns
Hand-dyer – Ripples Crafts , Assynt
Rest of Scotland (You know, the middle to bottom bit)
Ryeland yarn from their own flock – Rosedean Ryeland, Angus
Hand-dyed yarns and British fibre – Rusty Ferret, Dundee
Scandinavian and Welsh yarns, dyers – Midwinter Yarns, Linlithgow
Natural dyer – Woollenflower, Glasgow
Hand-dyer – Old Maiden Aunt Yarns, West Kilbride
Hand-dyer including British breeds – Ginger Twist Studio, Edinburgh
Scottish-spun British and non-UK wool – New Lanark Mill
Pedigree Shetland from their own flock – Lammermuir Wool. East Lothian
Single breeds and blended yarns from their own flock – Hawkshaw Sheep, Borders
Alpaca blend yarns and fibre processing mill – The Border Mill, Duns
Hand-dyer of yarns and fibre – The Border Tart, Duns
…What else can you find? Answer in the comment!
I hope you find this a useful quick-resource. It is not my intention to tell you to go out and buy all the yarn right now, but it would be incredibly powerful if you seek out these sellers on social media, give them a follow and maybe share some of their posts. That is a very valuable – and free – thing to do to support local wool
Did you contact ‘Out of Doors’ and link to this, or even say that you knew a huge amount to refute the original poster?
For my wooly sins I did, and they bloomin invited me on their show. And I was petrified, but I think I got the message accross!
How wonderful that they gave you a proper right of reply. It was a delight to listen to.
I’d also like to recommend Susan Calman’s Secret Scotland (Channel 5) episode about Harris & Lewis which has a feature on Harris Tweed.
To be honest, it’s not necessarily the most detailed, informative, educational documentary about tweed-making. But I do think it’s a great feel-good piece. The glee with which Susan talks about the fabric and the tradition is infectious.
The long and the short of it is that Harris Tweed must have been “hand-woven by the islanders at their home in the Outer Hebrides and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides. Tweed that does not comply with these conditions is not Harris Tweed and cannot be marketed as such.”
Should you feel the need to invest in a little bit of woolly history yourself, or are in search of tweedy gift ideas then please feel suitably enabled to check out the online shop (and stockists) here: https://www.harristweedisleofharris.co.uk/
I loved this episode. It was full of joy in so many ways
Could you add Croft Wools and Weavers to the list? http://www.croftwools.co.uk. Lesley and Thomas KilBride produce their wool at Cuaig on the Applecross peninsula.
Louise, your out of doors podcast was fantastic, my husband downloaded it knowing that I love wool, knitting, felting or just seeing all of the wonderful products that people make from it. You were inspirational, thank you!
I was simply stunned when I read the opening sentence. And horrified. The one thing I most regret about the pandemic was that it robbed DH and me of a once in a lifetime trip to Scotland. We were going to stay at the hotel run by the Shilasdair yarn people. I doubt we will ever make the trip now, but your list of all the yarny places on Skye surely gives me the incentive to try.
The talk on Scotland Outdoors is wonderful. Thanks, agree with you, I’m in Southern England and have been recently doing my first items with Shetland yarn and I’m loving it, the items are beautiful, soft and warm.
[…] signpost you to Louise Scollay’s website Wool Work. Firstly for a comprehensive list Louise has compiled about independent businesses in Scotland […]